LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — As Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos gear up to reopen on June 1, Twin River Casino’s reopening date is still unclear.
Although Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday it’s too soon to tell, she floated the possibility of a mid-to-late June or July opening for Twin River. Both the Lincoln and Tiverton locations closed back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes after both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun announced they will resume 24/7 operations, even though Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont isn’t on board.
“The reality is, it’s not going to look anything like it used to,” Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler said. “When you look at the openings that have taken place in Connecticut and Rhode Island, we fall well within those guidelines, and in some cases, are exceeding the standards that are being set.”
Butler said patrons will be screened upon entering the casino, everyone must wear masks and slots will be spaced out appropriately. There will be additional cleaning protocols in place, he said, including disinfecting dice and slots regularly.
The financial hit on the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which operates Foxwoods, has been substantial, according to Butler. He said they are losing several millions of dollars each week, which impacts their own government and healthcare funding.
Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are on sovereign land, which means they are not under the authority of the governor’s executive orders.
Lamont called the reopening of the casinos “risky.”
“I’m talking to people that represent the people that work at these casinos. Do they feel safe going in?” Lamont said. “We could always advise people driving into the casinos – hey, do you know that the governor has said this is not safe? These are the sort of types of warnings I feel I’m obligated to tell people before they partake in risky behavior.”
Raimondo expressed similar concerns.
“Opening up a casino, man you better get that right,” Raimondo said. “If that takes us a couple more weeks to get it right, I would much rather be safe than sorry.”
She said they are looking into doing an appointment-only system at Twin River once the casinos are allowed to reopen.
As for Twin River, they are working with the state on a reopening plan.
On Thursday, President and CEO of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc. George Papanier laid out what their casinos will look like once they’re given the green light to reopen.
Similar to Foxwoods, patrons will be screened upon entry, social distancing guidelines will be enforced, there will be either limited or no table games and frequent cleaning protocols.
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